Thursday, July 03, 2014


by Dick Mac





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Nook Is Dead. It has An Extended Warranty. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!


by Dick Mac

I remember when Barnes & Noble was the bad guy because they destroyed all our local bookstores.

Now they are the good guys because they are our local bookstores and they are being destroyed by the likes of Amazon.

I use the Nook from Barnes & Noble.  When I got my Nook HD+ recently, I purchased the extended warranty.

My family has multiple Nooks, and the Nook app is on our non-Nook devices.

My newest Nook (the HD+) stopped working.  It won't hold a charge.  These things happen.  But, to be sure, I spent a couple of days trying to charge it in different rooms, at home and at the office, with the original cable and with the extra cable I purchased for travel.  No good.  Sadly, my Nook must be serviced.

I call the 800 number and it's the usual scenario that we have all come to accept.  The guy treats me like a child and has me touching buttons and inserting plugs and cables, as if I haven't already tried all of this.  I understand.  It's his job.  He has to troubleshoot to determine if my Nook needs replacing.  I cooperate and he determines that I need a replacement.  It can be here in 3 - 5 business days.

In order to get a replacement I have to give him my credit card information.

WHAT?!?!?

I don't like this.  I have already paid for this device, then I paid almost the same amount again for extended protection.

Now they want my credit card?  In fact, they want me to read all the information over the phone to a stranger in a foreign country.

Wow!  What a scam.

I pay for a Nook, then I purchase the extended warranty.  My Nook stops working.  I call and am told that in order to get a replacement, I have to give some guy my credit card information (again), "in case I don't return the device"!

How insulting is that?

They want me to trust some stranger in some foreign country with my credit card information, but don't trust me with the Nook I already paid for.  They presume I am going to steal their shitty broken Nook, but I am supposed to trust them.

There is a work around.  I can return the Nook and they will send a replacement.  However, I can't bring the broken Nook downstairs to the BN I purchased it from, I have to ship it first and then they will send the replacement.

How will this work?

They will email me a label, then I affix it to a box broken device is in.  I have to find the box.  A padded envelope won't do, I have to use a box.  My own box.  When they get the broken Nook, they will get around to sending a replacement.  This will take three weeks.

THREE WEEKS.

But, if I give them my credit card, I can have my replacement in 3-5 business days.

I selected Nook not because it is the best choice, but to support BN.  The Nook isn't any better than any other reading device or tablet.  In fact, in many ways it is lacking.  But, I was a BN shopper and I wanted to support them.

That has proven to be a poor choice, a bad decision.

Barnes & Noble doesn't care about me a fraction as much as I care about them!

I will be switching booksellers and devices as soon as these Nooks are gone.

I consider some companies to be "good" companies and some companies to be "bad" companies.

BN used to be on my list of good companies.

While protecting their bottom line BN might want to examine exactly how insulting they are to long-time customers who have been loyal.

BN, go to hell!




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

People who don't even know they are racists are so often lying racists! Yeah, you!



by Dick Mac

A "conservative" meme is being spread around Facebook.

More than one of my relatives have posted it.

Racism is a form of mental illness.  "Conservatives" aren't bad people, they are sick people.

The meme uses a favorite conservative tactic of accusing victims of racism as being the actual racists.  It shows four images depicting Congressional caucuses:  The black caucus image is a group of brown-skinned members of Congress.  The other three images are blank, and the caption reads:  "Oh, I see, but everyone else is racist, right?"



The implication is that there are no Latino, Asian caucuses, or White caucuses.

This, of course, is a massive lie just like everything else "conservatives" try to tell us (and themselves).

What is the truth?  One look at the list of current caucuses points out that the vast majority of them are for Whites, that there are multiple Latino and Asian caucuses, and one Black caucus.  One.




Here is an alphabetical list of all the Congressional caucuses, in 2014: 


2015 Caucus, 21st Century Health Care Caucus, 30 Something Working Group, 4-H Caucus, 9/11 Commission Caucus, Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, Afterschool Caucuses, Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus, Alzheimer's Disease Congressional Task Force, American Sikh Congressional Caucus, Americans Abroad Caucus, Animal Protection Caucus, Anti-Value Added Tax Caucus, The Anti-VAT Caucus, Appalachian Caucus, Armenian Caucus, Army Corps Reform Caucus, Bangladesh Caucus, Bike Caucus AKA Bicycle Caucus, Biomedical Research Caucus, Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Bipartisan Working Group on Disaster Recovery and Response, The, Blue Dog Coalition, Congressional Bourbon Caucus, Building a Better America Caucus, California Democratic Congressional Delegation, Caribbean Caucus, Center Aisle Caucus, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, Children's Environmental Health Caucus, Coalition on Autism Research and Education, Community College Caucus, Community Solutions and Initiatives Caucus, Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, Congressional Arts Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Automotive Caucus, Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, Congressional Battlefield Caucus, Congressional Bicameral Arthritis Caucus, Congressional Bike Caucus, Congressional Biomass Caucus, Congressional Biotechnology Caucus, Congressional Bipartisan Cerebral Palsy Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Boating Caucus, Congressional Border Caucus, Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Congressional Brazil Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Congressional Caucus for Bosnia, Congressional Caucus on Central America, Congressional Caucus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety, Congressional Montenegro Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Congressional Caucus on the Judicial Branch, Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian Americans, Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands, Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, Congressional Caucus on Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Americans, Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans, Congressional Caucus on Uganda, Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports, Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus, Congressional Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, Congressional Children's Caucus, Congressional China Caucus, Congressional Coal Caucus, Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Congressional Coastal Caucus, Congressional Complementary and Alternative Medicine Caucus, Congressional Constitution Caucus, Congressional Correctional Officers Caucus, Congressional Croatian Caucus, Congressional Czech Caucus, Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Congressional E-911 Caucus, Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus, Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Congressional Fitness Caucus, Congressional Food Safety Caucus, Congressional Forest Task Force, Congressional Former Mayors Caucus, Congressional Fraternal Caucus, Congressional French Caucus, Congressional Friends of Denmark, Congressional Gaming Caucus, Congressional Gulf of Mexico Caucus, Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Conference, Congressional HUBZone Caucus, Congressional Hockey Caucus, Congressional Horse Caucus, Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Congressional Humanities Caucus, Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, Congressional Insurance Caucus, Congressional Intelligent Transportation Systems Caucus, Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, Congressional Internet Caucus, Congressional Iraqi Women's Caucus, Congressional Kidney Caucus, Congressional Kids Safety Caucus, Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus, Congressional Life Science Caucus, Congressional Management Caucus, Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, Congressional Manufacturing Task Force, Congressional Medical Professionals Caucus, Congressional Men's Health Caucus, Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Congressional Mentoring Caucus, Congressional Mine Warfare Caucus, Congressional Mining Caucus, Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, Congressional Montenegro Caucus, Congressional Morocco Caucus, Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus, Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, Congressional Nursing Caucus, Congressional Organic Caucus, Congressional Pakistan Caucus, Congressional Port Security Caucus, Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Pro-Trade Caucus, Congressional Real Estate Caucus, Congressional Rural Caucus, Congressional Rural Housing Caucus, Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, Congressional Scouting Caucus, Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus, Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, Congressional Serbian Caucus, Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, Congressional Singapore Caucus, Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Congressional Steel Caucus, Congressional Stop DUI Caucus, Congressional Submarine Caucus, Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Congressional Taskforce on International HIV/AIDS, Congressional Tourism and Travel Caucus, Congressional TRIO Caucus, Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus, Congressional Vision Caucus, Congressional Waterways Caucus, Congressional Western Caucus, Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus, Congressional Working Group on Parkinson's Disease, Congressional Zoo and Aquarium Caucus, Consumer Justice Caucus, Delaware River Basin Task Force, Diversity and Innovation Caucus, Democratic Israel Working Group, Duma-Congress Study Group, E-Waste Working Group, House Economic Competitiveness Caucus, Senate Economic Competitiveness Caucus, Electronic Warfare Working Group, Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, Flat Tax Caucus, Friends of Norway Caucus, House Friends of Scotland Caucus, Senate Friends of Scotland Caucus, Friends of Switzerland Caucus, Future Caucus, Future of American Media Caucus, German-American Caucus, Global AIDS Emergency Task Force, House Great Lakes Task Force, Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Historic Preservation Caucus, House Aerospace Caucus, House Afterschool Caucus, House Agriculture Energy Users Caucus, House Army Caucus, House Baltic Caucus, House Beef Caucus, House Biofuels Caucus, House Democratic Caucus, House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus, House Oceans Caucus, House Reading Caucus, House Recycling Caucus, House Republican Israel Caucus, House Rural Health Care Coalition, House Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Caucus, House Trade Working Group, House Trails Caucus, Hudson River Caucus, Hungarian American Caucus, India Caucus, Indonesia Caucus, International Conservation Caucus, International Workers Rights Caucus, Interstate 69 Caucus, Intelligent Transportation Caucus, Japan Caucus, Kenya Caucus, Korea Caucus, Kurdish American Caucus 2007, Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus, Law Enforcement Caucus, LGBT Equality Caucus, Liberty Caucus, Montenegro Caucus, Minor League Baseball Caucus, Multiple Sclerosis Caucus, National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, National Landscape Conservation System Caucus, National Service Congressional Caucus, Navy-Marine Corps Caucus, New Democrat Coalition, North America’s Supercorridor Caucus, Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, Northern Border Caucus, Nuclear Issues Caucus, Out of Iraq Caucus, Passenger Rail Caucus, Patriot Act Reform Caucus, Pell Grant Caucus, The, Physics Caucus, The, Populist Caucus, Ports Caucus, The, Public Broadcasting Caucus, Public Service Caucus, Qatari-American Economic Strategic Defense, Cultural, and Educational Partnership Caucus, Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, Republican Study Committee, Research and Development Caucus, River of Trade Corridor Congressional Caucus, Saudi Arabia Study Group, The, Senate Afterschool Caucus, Senate Economic Mobility Caucus, Senate Oceans Caucus, Senate Taiwan Caucus, Sex and Violence in the Media Caucus, Sexual Assault Violence Elimination (SAVE) Taskforce, Shellfish Caucus, Silk Road Caucus, Special Operations Forces Caucus, State Maritime Academy Caucus, Stop DUI Caucus, Sudan Caucus, Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Tea Party Caucus, TEX-21 Congressional Caucus, Unexploded Ordnance Caucus, Upper Mississippi River Basin Task Force, U.S.-Afghan Caucus, U.S.-China Working Group, U.S.-Mongolia Friendship Caucus, U.S.-New Zealand Congressional Caucus, Victim's Rights Caucus, Victory in Iraq Caucus, Wounded to Work Congressional Caucus, Youth Challenge Caucus, Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus.
So, when a "conservative" tries to tell you that the real racists are the blacks, just laugh in his face. Reason, dialog and pity haven't worked so let's start laughing at them.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

When Things Go Wrong

Robin Lane
(photographer unknown - used without permission)
by Dick Mac

In 1978, and the years to follow, I listened to, watched, admired, developed crushes on, and came to adore Robin Lane.  With her band, Robin Lane and The Chartbusters, she owned a substantial slice of the Boston music scene, which was exploding at the time.

I attended live shows every week:  Robin Lane, Human Sexual Response, Mission of Burma, Lou Miami, Pastiche, The Girls, The Outlets, Phobia, The Stompers, Unnatural Axe, The Lyres, Lizzie Borden, La Peste, Classic Ruins, Thrills, Del Fuegos and more -- so many more.  I got to know musicians and singers, bartenders and bouncers, record producers and band managers.  I landed in videos and films, radio stations and recording studios.  I produced plays and wrote comedy. I took too many drugs, drank too much, had sex with too many people, and absolutely adored my life.  It may have been the end of the 1970s, but it was still the 1970s we all loved and were lucky to live through.

The Rat, Cantones, Sp(a)ce, Inn Square Men's Bar, Streets, Storyville, and other haunts became my homes away from home.

Some weeks I sought out a particular band, some weeks I was chasing a particular romance, some weeks I was looking for particular drugs, but every week included some time in one of these venues.

I never had any trouble meeting and picking up girls or boys, and was known to be very direct with anyone I wanted to be with. On more than one occasion I asked the wrong boy to dance, and would find myself in a potentially violent and dangerous situation.  Fortunately, the majority of the people on the scene were not as offended as the guy who considered himself my 'victim' and I could talk my way out of death with the help of friends or casual acquaintances.

I jumped at any opportunity to see Robin Lane and The Chartbusters.  Robin Lane was adorable, and sexy, and looked so tough and seemed so vulnerable.  She was everything a rock 'n roll chick should be in my young, naive mind.  I had the hots for her, as I said in those days.

Whenever I had the opportunity to say hello or chat with her she was charming and friendly.  I would get tongue-tied, stammer and mumble, and eventually make an excuse to withdraw.  No matter how cool, hip and sophisticated I thought I was, she was cooler, hipper and more sophisticated.

In the ensuing decades, I learned about self-centered fear, and the way events of my youth shaped my ability or inability to form healthy relationships with other people.

A few years ago, I saw Robin Lane listed as a 'friend' of a 'friend' on Facebook.  Facebook is that place where the word 'friend' means something very different than than definition I remember from Catholic school.

I checked-out her page and read about her work with women and girls and music.  She was clearly a survivor like me and so many others of our generation who made it out alive.  She was using her valuable life experience to be of service to others.  I was now more impressed thirty-odd years later than I had been in my youth.

Eventually I became her 'friend' (in the Facebook sense of the word) and followed her goings-on from a distance.  I read a post she made one day and it resonated so deeply with me that I sent her a message, and we had a brief correspondence about some issues of importance to both of us.

Some weeks/months/years later, I saw a poster online announcing her performance in the Boston area on the same bill as my cousin, Andrea Gillis.  We shared some messages about that and I was excited to hear that she admired Andrea.

Sometime in 2012 (I think), I saw an announcement that Chartbuster's drummer Tim Jackson established a kickstarter project to fund a movie about Robin.  I was thrilled and I followed the progress as announcements were made.

Finally, earlier this year, the premiere screening of the movie was announced for Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Arlington Regent Theatre, near Boston.  Next Friday.

I got two tickets immediately and started making plans.

I will be there.

Will you?

Get info here:  When Things Go Wrong, Robin Lane's Story

Get tickets here:  Regent Theatre

Look for me:  I'll be the really good-looking guy who used to be much younger!

And I'll look for you:  I remember who you are.




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Development and the Social Conscience


by Dick Mac

The Chelsea neighborhood of New York City is home to many famous people:  actors, singers, television personalities, writers, etc.  And it is home to many people not quite so powerful and affluent.

The more socially-conscious of these celebrities often speak-up when something unsavory is happening in their neighborhood.  In fact, in the not-too-distant past, one famous couple (actor and actress) attended public meetings held to consider if a financially-strapped hospital could use its air rights to build luxury condos that would save the institution.

St. Vincent's was the only hospital on the West Side of lower Manhattan, it had an important legacy of charity, and pretty-much invented the protocol for treating people with AIDS.  It was part of the fabric of the city and its loss would be devastating.

It was a relief to hear that Mr. & Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Star Couple would be attending the meeting.  They could bring a powerful voice to the needs of the community.

Well, oddly, they were taking a stand AGAINST the hospital!

She said the hospital was dreadful, that SHE would never bring HER children there.  And he mocked pro-hospital demonstrators by agreeing that the neighborhood deserved a world-class hospital, but he would only go there if it was life-or-death (implying it was not a world-class hospital and never could be).

The chapel inside St Vincent's Hospital
For those who do not know:  St. Vincent's went bankrupt, closed, has been demolished and luxury condos are being erected.  There is no hospital on the west side of lower Manhattan.

A few years after that world-altering, earth-shattering event, Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Star had the ovarian fortitude to stand in front of the now-dead hospital to endorse a mayoral candidate and decry the loss of the hospital!  Yes!  She gathered with a group of people upset about the hospital closing!

She spoke against the hospital five years earlier, and now she was upset that it was gone.

The only word that comes to mind to describe this amnesiac is a word that today I will not type.

Fast forward to 2014.

Less than a block, in throwing distance of the lovely Chelsea home owned by Mr. & Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Stars (now-separated), at 124 W. 16th Street, a developer has purchased the air-rights above a church of questionable business repute, and is erecting an 11-story luxury condominium building nestled in a neighborhood of 6-story buildings.  (See picture here where the developer's artist has drawn the adjacent six-story building out-of-proportion so it looks taller than it really is and the new building looks smaller.)

I don't know if Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Star still owns that nearby home, but she still lives in New York and I can't imagine a good reason for her to have moved from that lovely neighborhood.  If she does still live in the neighborhood, she has failed to use her considerable clout to fight this development, which unlike the hospital plan, IS a blight on the community.

A building like this could diminish the value of her property.  Sadly, the diminished value of her property would mean diminished value of the property owned by people not quite as affluent and powerful as she.

In the big picture, with friends like her, that neighborhood doesn't need enemies.

The construction of this building destroys the character of the neighborhood (which I know means nothing to America anymore); but, it diminishes the value of taxpayers' homes (and even a Tea Party supporter should be un-in-arms about that).  This development is bad for everyone but the developers.

Yet, the development goes on and those who own property on that street have no recourse.

I hope the community stages daily walking pickets outside the building when prospective buyers come to shop.  Let them know they are complicit in this debacle.

Nobody like Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Star has come to their aid, and nobody of any importance will.

Read about the new development:



In case you hadn't paid attention to the St. Vincent's debacle, read here:



Ms. Socially-Conscious Movie Star is so concerned in 2013: